Youthful Tales from the Overland Trails

The Promise of the West

Montana historian Mary Barmeyer O’Brien’s latest book on Western frontier history The Promise of the West: Young Pioneers on the Overland Trails (TwoDot, $16.95) is a well-illustrated read for all ages. The strength of O’Brien’s volume is her subject which is overlooked by most who write about the Old West: children’s frontier history. With a succinctly written introduction that provides the reader with an excellent overview of the overland trails pioneers followed West, O’Brien tells 18 poignant stories of children and teens whose dramatic experiences provide a fresh perspective on the hope, heartache and tragedy that the youngest overland immigrants experienced on a daily basis. The author, who has also written Heart of the Trail: The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women, Outlasting the Trail: The Story of a Woman’s Journey West, and Across Death Valley also provides a very useful bibliography for those who would like to investigate more the personal stories of our Western past. To own your own copy, visit

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